Highlighting Women in Facilities and HTM

For Women's History Month, FSI took the opportunity to speak with several women in the facilities and HTM space about their experiences.

Facilities and HTM/Biomed are male-dominated spaces – according to Zippia, only 24.5% of facilities managers in the United States are female. Though the percentage of women in the industry is slowly increasing, they still tend to be underrepresented. FSI is proud to work with many impactful women, both within the FSI team and those who are part of the teams we work to serve every day. 

March is Women's History Month, and to celebrate we are highlighting the voices of a few of the hard-working women in the space as we explore their unique experiences navigating their career and what they hope to see in the future of the field.

The Current Experience

Among the women we spoke to, there was a common theme of facing difficulties attributed to gender or presenting themselves in an outwardly feminine way. As Holly Gassert, Facility System Regulatory Coordinator at UPMC, summarized:

“Being a feminine presenting person in a male presenting dominate space is not easy. It took time for my co-workers to understand my past experiences had value in the facilities space and that I knew more than how to type without looking at the keyboard. I grew up doing hard physical labor (first in agriculture and then in emergency services) but that isn't easy to visualize when you work in a business casual office environment.”  

What Women Bring

Women in the industry are often coming from related career fields with differing backgrounds from their male counterparts. This results in a unique perspective and skill set that departments can benefit from listening to and learning from. We asked FSI's Manager of Customer Support, Angie Oglesby, how she has seen this play out in her time working closely with FSI users. "I've seen more women becoming directors of facilities departments. They have had varied backgrounds in similar industries, and tend to bring a lot of strength to departmental organization and up-to-date documentation which is essential in a healthcare setting," she said of the women she has worked with over the years. 

On top of benefits to an existing team, having women in a facilities department paves the way for further representation as girls can see themselves in the facilities space and seek out opportunities for guidance from women in leadership positions.

Stephanie Vannoy, Office Manager of Plant Operations at Cone Health, knows firsthand how influential female leadership can be. She reflected on the impact her female mentor has had, stating "She's been instrumental in getting women's voices heard in the business, she has recruited a lot of females into the industry."

Christy Webster, Business Systems Analyst at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, also noted the lasting positive effect she has personally experienced through getting to work with female mentors in the field, saying "I currently do not have a female mentor but have had two in the past. My takeaways from each of them were the staying organized, problem solving in difficult situations and managing up. All of which I continue to use every day."

The Future of the Industry

As we look ahead to the future of the industry, there is a continuing need to break down stereotypes and extend outreach to those not traditionally represented in the space. Here is what some of the women we spoke to had to say about what they hope to see develop in the coming years:

"What I would love to see for the future of the facilities maintenance industry is an inclusive space for everyone. People just out of high school, just out of trade school, older generations that are deciding on a life change. No matter what your education history is, it doesn't matter, we'd love to have you. I want that inclusive space, more people of color, more women getting involved. If you like working with your hands, please come to facilities." - Holly Gassert, Facility System Regulatory Coordinator, UPMC

"At MD Publishing one of my roles is supporting our young professionals group (YP at MD). This is our young professionals group that supports HTM professionals, powered by our biomedical publication TechNation Magazine. Recently in the past 2 years we started TechNation's 40 under 40. Even though the HTM industry is majority male I would like to point out and highlight that our first year (2022) of the 40 under 40 included 15 out of the 40 women and in our second 40 under 40 class (2023) we had 12 women highlighted out of 40. This is still a significantly low number and we wish it was more 50/50, but these women are paving a strong path so that more women entering the HTM industry know that they have a bright future ahead of them. In my 6 years since I've been at MD Publishing we are a company that is majority female and are continuing to find ways in our media outlets to empower, support and motivate women in our dedicated industries." - Megan Cabot, Group Publisher of ICE Magazine, MD Publishing

"Throughout my years working in the facilities field, and now as part of the FSI team working directly with organizations across the country, I've gotten to see firsthand more and more women enter the industry. Many healthcare teams have recognized that traditional career paths aren’t always a necessity to being a successful leader in HFM, therefore opening up opportunities to women coming from adjacent industries. I look forward to this growing trend as the field continues to attract more people who may not have considered it as an option before. More perspectives and more representation is always a strength." – Claire F. Salinas, Director of Customer Success, FSI


Growth in facilities and HTM can be supported by drumming up interest among groups and spaces that may not have considered it as a career path before – along with advocating for breaking down stigma associated with women in the field are measures everyone can take that will go a long way in cultivating a welcoming and inclusive culture and supporting the growth of the industry's workforce over time. 


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